Darwin is a Japanese snow macaque whose image went viral in 2012 when he was found wandering around a Toronto IKEA wearing a shearling coat:
— Bronwyn Iler Page (@broniewyn) December 9, 2012
Darwin was captured and put into the custody of Toronto Animal Services, while his owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, fought a legal battle to get him back. Eventually, the court ruled against her claim, and she had to pay legal costs for her lawsuit against Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, Darwin’s new home.
Now settled, Darwin is once again in the spotlight. This time, he’s the star of an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the sanctuary.
This rather sentimental fundraising video accompanies the story of why the sanctuary needs to move:
On Dec 12, 2012 Darwin, a baby Japanese Macaque, was found wandering in a Toronto-area IKEA parking lot wearing a now world-famous shearling coat. The courts placed Darwin in our care after a lengthy trial involving his former owner. Darwin has since matured into a much larger, energetic and rambunctious juvenile. Our wish for him is family, friends and forest for the future!
We now have an exciting opportunity to acquire a new larger home with wide open spaces and forested enclosures for Darwin and the twenty-one other monkeys at Story Book Farm. But we need your help! Become a Darwin’s Dreamer today!
Due to a change in our human family situation, the sanctuary needs to relocate by spring of 2015. Our proposed new home has 56 acres of rolling hills with trees aplenty and ample space, with indoor and outdoor areas for all our residents. There are 2 houses on site for staff as well as a finished area perfect for a vet clinic on site. There are also twenty additional monkeys already living on the property that will be given sanctuary and likely integrated into social groups.
Two of these monkeys are Japanese Macaques who would make a perfect family for Darwin!
Launched on November 25, the campaign has raised only $9,218 (CAD) of its almost half-million-dollar goal. As Christmas is the most competitive time of year for charities, this does not bode well for the campaign unless some major donors step forward before the New Year’s Eve deadline.
What this campaign really needs is a way for Darwin to go viral again, but the things about him that made his story so popular (the coat, the unexpected appearance in an IKEA) are exactly what the sanctuary is protecting him from. Instead, they are treating him with his own dignity as a primate.
It’s a catch-22. But what else can they do?